Read the transcript from Head Coach Mike McDaniel's press conference on Friday, November 4, 2022.
(I noticed T Terron Armstead with an Achilles on the injury report. Is that related to the toe or is that something separate?) – "That's something that he's always managed that is a wear and tear of the football season, but he's the guy that has proven week-in and week-out to be able to play at a high level while battling through stuff. (He is a) tremendous part of our team, so I have nothing but hopeful and optimistic feelings towards him playing on Sunday."
(And OL Robert Jones gets a full week of practice this week. What will that do for the offensive line – the unity and communication – I mean, huge benefits or how do you quantify it?) – "It's definitely beneficial. It's not to the degree like when you're talking about a quarterback working through a week calling plays and him doing all those things, but of course, it's advantageous. It's awesome for the player. People don't necessarily give it its due, how difficult it is to be an NFL mid-game relief pitcher. Like starting a game, you get yourself mentally prepared. Like a backup quarterback, an offensive lineman goes zero to 60 real quick. So he did a tremendous job of being able to – really when you're able to continue on your course and you have something like that happen to a starter and then the next man steps up, and you're not adjusting for that next man, that means that you are doing right by your teammates and the team. I'm really pumped about him getting the extra work this week and them working all together."
(Do you have an idea of how much LB Bradley Chubb and RB Jeff Wilson Jr. might play this weekend?) – "I have several ideas. Do you want to hear all my ideas? Wouldn't you like to know? (laughter) Yeah, they're going to play. To what exact degree, that depends on multiple variables. We started putting the game plans together before they were on the team. Things move fast. They're both professionals. They're both ready and comfortable within the plan and within their roles. It will be somewhere between zero snaps and what they'll normally get in a given week, just somewhere in that range. But it'll be more than zero snaps. (laughter)"
(With how quick of a turnaround it's been for them, how much of the playbook can they reasonably be expected to know at this point?) – "You have to manage your expectations appropriately. Each individual is different and then you put that on the coaches to really do their best so that they can be out on the football field playing fast. So there's a lot of things that are involved with that. It's a relentless process but one that I'm confident our guys are up for and excited to do. I think that both guys have come in seamlessly within the locker room, and I think their energy for doing their jobs is palpable. And I think they'll all be excited to play as a team together. But you just make sure that they're able to do what they do best and if you have to compromise some things, you compromise some things or you utilize your other guys."
(You all incorporated LB Bradley Chubb and RB Jeff Wilson Jr. onto the team. As far as them adapting to the team rules, how have your views been on with them accepting that adversity is opportunity?) – "Well, they've already checked off one piece of adversity and that's changing cities on the player day off and then all of a sudden getting a physical and being involved in install meetings in the same day. And honestly, we wouldn't have made either move if we weren't operating with extreme conviction that they were the type of people that could fit within our locker room. That's a sacred place that we hold that we don't just let anybody jump into. So they've met exact expectations in regards to how they conduct themselves and the type of people they are, which in that circumstance, we don't have to worry about them. And with any of our rules, I don't have a ton of them, but the ones that I do have that I'm pretty hard line on, they should have no problem with."
(Talking about that, how has it been for you? This is your first year as a head coach. How has it been for you these two days after the trade deadline and the new players that you got because you have to worry about them performing on a football field, but you have to worry about other things now that you're the head coach?) – "It's not the first time that I've seen it happen. Again, that's one of the things that I've been so thankful for in my career is having the opportunity to – you know, 2019, right at the trade deadline, we traded for Emmanuel Sanders. And that season he didn't even get a bye week because of when the trade deadline was in regards to our schedule. He got to feel the pros and cons of whatever you do in that short situation. We traded for Jimmy Garoppolo in 2018, I believe, or 2017. So both circumstances were very helpful in kind of being comfortable in this situation. I think all of those things, all of my job this year, it's new; but it's also something that I prioritized before I ever did any of this to think through these things and take advantage of those opportunities because I know they're going to come my way again, and I don't want to be thinking on the fly like that. So it's been like everything else. You just handle whatever comes to you and good problems to have is to have new players that are really good."
(Just observing LB Bradley Chubb over the last couple of days, who are some of the guys you've seen him working with a lot that have kind of been teaching him scheme. Outside of coaches, obviously, like some of the players on the squad that have kind of been guiding him along helping him learn some things?) – "This is the first rep that I've had with this team being together and then having new additions. So I did get to learn a little bit, but I wasn't surprised at all. And what I saw was a bunch of teammates excited for their new teammate and trying and understanding that any individual success on this football team is everyone's success. So you see players, the entire defense – not just his position, but our captains, Christian (Wilkins) and 'E. Rob' (Elandon Roberts) and Jevon (Holland) and really everybody. I think our team puts it upon themselves to embrace these guys, get them up to speed as fast as possible. They put a little accountability on themselves as well, which is really cool to see. It doesn't surprise me but just further validates the type of locker room that we have."
(To follow up on an earlier question about LB Bradley Chubb's knowledge of the playbook, at a certain point with a guy like him, with his pass rushing abilities, is it just like go get the quarterback? Maybe scheme aside, just do you what you do best?) – "Have you been listening to my play calls? (laughter) I call that play a lot, so hopefully, we'll execute that play more. (laughter) No, to a certain degree, you just have to really manage expectations, understand, have empathy and put yourself in their shoes. I think our coaching staff has done a great job with that, understanding that we need to put him in position to play fast. And that's a challenge, but not something completely foreign and something that I think our guys proved to be pretty comfortable with this week."
(Is it safe to assume you evaluated QB Justin Fields ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft?) – "One could assume that, safely."
(How would you say he's grown from that time to now?) – "Well, I think he's two inches taller. No, you can see – it's one of the really cool parts about just coaching in general. I actually worked a quarterback camp in my past that I've seen him as a 17-year-old. You could tell from afar that he was made of the right stuff, because he was diligent. He was super talented, but the super talented, hard workers standout. Then you see him as an NFL player, and you're seeing him make even better decisions with some of his skillset. The guy has an unbelievable arm and is so fast. So he's really putting defenses in binds by giving his receivers opportunities down the field, but then also understanding how much of a weapon his legs are. It doesn't surprise me at all, really. But he's starting to just understand how disruptive he can be to NFL defenses. Hopefully, he doesn't further go on that learning curve here this Sunday, because it puts coaches and players in a nervous spot. To his credit, he's a real good player that we're going to have to fully commit to to try to hold back, not stop."
(The coin toss – how do you manage that? Does a voice come to you at 5 a.m.? Do you get analytics involved? How do you decide heads or tails and how does that whole process work?) – "Well, that – so it's always the captains. We had our seven captains just basically rotate. That part isn't hard science. Then I communicate with (Special Teams Coordinator) Danny Crossman about the particular angle that we'd like to go in terms of if we win it or not and those type of things, and he communicates that on gameday while I prepare to call the game. Then typically, I think we've – our whole process has proved to be one of the most threatening things in the National Football League because I think we've only lost one (coin toss). We're pretty unstoppable at calling it, and that's why I can't divulge too much of the process for competitive advantage purposes, because I know people are studying our process because the proof is in the pudding. (laughter)"
(So you leave it up to one captain each week to actually make the call – heads or tails?) – "Oh yeah. Oh, yeah. That's something that you've got to let go at some point as a coach. It's kind of like parenthood. So I leave that up to them, but I definitely judge them immediately after. (laughter)"
(So you don't chart heads or tails or anything? You just let it go?) – "No. It's just not the way I was trained in the coin-flipping process. (laughter)"
(It used to be that teams always took the football back in the day to start the game. Why do you think it's changed now to almost everyone defers?) – "Well, the idea of end of half, beginning of third quarter strategy, with the more and more influx of football analytics, I think people have started to pay attention to really possessions. I know along my career, I didn't really pay attention to it, then all of a sudden, it's the only thing that made sense. So I think that's just with the growing football community's focus and obsession with situational football, people have gotten a little more groomed in it. So you basically see the same decision every week until you don't. There's always a reason not to, and that will be the time that we don't do it."
(Everyone that works here, they received a game ball from Week 1. What went into that process of making sure that everyone within the Dolphins organization received a game ball? You were really literal when you said that.) – "Yeah, I think it's important, especially as a boss, to mean what you say. So I'm very literal, literally. (laughter) I think it comes back to my philosophy of team sports. It's much like life, that you accomplish anything, there's no job too little. It takes a village to – in this league with the competitiveness, with the parity, with how many talented players there are, with how many talented coaches there are, all that goes into it, it takes every person in the organization moving the same direction for you to win more than you lose over time. When better to really, really emphasize that then the first time you win? To me, it was the only thing that made sense, because the second that the clock strikes zero and we have more points than the opponent, it takes me about half a second before I'm swallowed in all the things that have to occur for that to happen. As a head coach, you just feel so dependent upon so many different people to do your job, more dependent than you've ever felt. You feel very gracious, and I think it's the only – I think everybody that deserved a game ball got one, and that's everybody because it takes everybody to win football games in this league."